What an amazing weekend! Very early Saturday morning me and my mum headed for Cambridge to witness the wonders of Pi Wars – run by CamJam organisers Mike and Tim. After getting a goodie bag and our Judge & Jam Maker stickers we went to explore the amazing robots that were competing against each other. There were around 30 competitors. I managed to interview five of them: Darth Cthulhu, The bomb squad, Optimus Pi, Triangular and Revenge of the Pyrobot along with young robot fanatic Crazy Squeak’s own robot that he brought along to test out on the challenges. Crazy Squeak – it was really great to meet you at Pi Wars and look forward to reading your blogs too – https://crazysqueak.wordpress.com
Link 1: Southend Raspberry Jam team
Link 2: The Bomb Squad – Yasmin Bey
Link 3: Optimus Pi – Leo White
Link 4: Triangula – Tom Oinn
*Apologies for poor sound – as my recording equipment is very limited
There were seven different challenges: Obstacle course, Skittles, Pi Noon – the Robot vs Robot duel, Straight-line speed test, Three-point turn, Line follower course and Proximity alert.
It was a great privilege to judge the Three Point Turn challenge with my mum and JarJarGeek. He is an amazing blogger and we had a lot of fun working together as a team – see his video of the event at http://youtu.be/tSuZecIVBPI It was really interesting as the robots have to do this challenge autonomously: some used sensors but others used measurements or adjusted the number of wheel rotations/angles etc.
I aslo met two other very cool bloggers called Mat – Raspberry Pi IV Beginners https://www.youtube.com/user/RaspberryPiBeginners and Raspberry Pi Guy – also Matt – http://www.theraspberrypiguy.com They gave me some great advice and their recording equipment made me realise that if I want to get serious, as a blogger, poor mum will have to help me raise some funds!
One of the real highlights was interviewing Raspberry Pi’s founder and CEO (Trading) Eben Upton who said that the Raspberry Pi is all about helping young people to explore coding. He also talked about the £4 Pi Zero and enjoying Pi Wars – see video link above. In fact there were so many cool people around. I even got to speak to the other CEO of Raspberry Pi, Philip Colligan, who said that he’d really enjoyed reading my blog and that it was ‘amazing’. Wow – that has made me very happy and it does help me to keep going – even when it gets so busy with other stuff!
My favourite robot was the Revenge of PyroBot- it was so cool – with creator, Brain, putting his old robot on top of it. He said it had got trashed last year and this year he’s out for revenge – bigger and better than ever. It was true – he won about 6 prizes.
We are having a Robot hack next week at our South London Raspberry Jam, so coming to Pi Wars was really inspiring and we got lots of encouragement from the community, at the event. Thank you to RyanTeck, Pimoroni, Ragworm, and RapidOnline for helping us out. I am also grateful to PiBorg, Ryan Teck (SnowPi) and Mearm for agreeing to send me products to review on this blog.
So this week, we have a CamJam Robot kit that I’m going to be building and mum’s going to ask the IT department at work to do a 3D print of the chassis – see Daniel Ball’s thingiverse.com website. We’ll use it as an example for the young coders at our event to build, code and compete in our very own mini Pi Wars.
Last thing! I want to read something awesome over christmas – can you recommend an iconic or essential piece of writing for a new coder and future designer/builder of robots and the gadgets (Internet of Things) – bearing in mind I’ve just turned 10? It can be anything – article, fiction, non-fiction or comic. Leave your suggestion in the comments, please?
Apologies for missed blogs but next Sunday tune in for a review our South London Raspberry Jam and see how we do with our own mini Pi Wars.